The cultivation of skill and diffusion of taste in music

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Variety Hour in the Siglo de Oro

Posted By Randall Couch on Mar 6th, 2017 in
Piffaro, Philadelphia’s renaissance band, is spending the season in Spain. Last weekend’s program bore the title—appropriately for the month of San Valentín, in which falls the Día de los Enamorados—of ¡Ay, Amor! Assembled by Piffaro’s Christa Patton with Damon Bonetti of the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective theatrical company, the show evoked the early zarzuela, a popular […]
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The Fifth Century – a new recording from The Crossing & PRISM Quartet

Posted By Andrew Quint on Feb 9th, 2017
There’s a stunning new CD that features two accomplished Philadelphia ensembles. The Fifth Century, a work for choir and saxophone quartet by the active English composer Gavin Bryars, was released in November on the elite ECM label. The seven-movement suite sets texts by the seventeenth century theologian and metaphysical poet Thomas Traherne, whose writings were […]
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National Endowment for the Arts in peril

Posted By Andrew Quint on Feb 9th, 2017
A significant topic for discussion at the February 7th meeting of the MFS Board was the news reported last month that the new administration in Washington is intending to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts. (The National Endowment for the Humanities is also said to be on the chopping block.) These government entities provide […]
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Sarah Shafer Nails Adina in L’elisir d’amore

Posted By Andrew Quint on May 7th, 2016 in
The Musical Fund Society has done more than OK with its choices for singers to receive our annual Career Advancement Award. In 2000, the prize went to bass Eric Owens, in 2002 to mezzo Marietta Simpson, in 2007 to Stephen Costello, and in 2013 to soprano Sarah Shafer. All have been establishing significant international careers […]
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Another Side of Milton Babbitt

Posted By Peter Burwasser on Mar 26th, 2016
Milton Babbitt was the personification of new, academic music during his long and storied career. But not necessarily in a good way; his work was regarded as alienating and self-consciously abstract by the musical hoi polloi. It did not help that an essay he wrote in 1958 was entitled (by his editor, not Babbitt himself) […]
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Steven Stucky, 1949-2016

Posted By Peter Burwasser on Feb 15th, 2016
The music world was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of composer Steven Stucky on February 14, at the much too early age of 66. Stucky, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, was based in Ithaca, New York, where he served on the musical faculty […]
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Lois Bliss Herbine: Then and Now

Posted By Andrew Quint on Jan 5th, 2016 in
A package arrived in the mail a few weeks ago from Lois Bliss Herbine, the Philadelphia-based flute and (especially) piccolo player. The envelope contained two items. The first was a 2014 CD entitled Inverno Azul (that’s Blue Winter) containing nine chamber works for flutes(s) written by Temple University flutist and composer Cynthia Folio. There’s music […]
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Jeremy Denk’s adventuresome PCMS program: Was Glenn Gould wrong?

Posted By Andrew Quint on Oct 23rd, 2015 in
Earlier this evening, Philadelphia favorite Jeremy Denk played a piano recital at the Perelman, the first installment of the 2015-2016 PCMS Piano Recital Series. Denk had the capacity audience with him every step of the way for a very unusual program. There were some standard repertoire pieces—a Bach English Suite, a Haydn Fantasia, and Schumann’s […]
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Subscribing Habits of Younger Concert-goers

Posted By Andrew Quint on Oct 17th, 2015 in
As you drive along the Schuykill Expressway or 95, have you seen the billboards inviting those who survive their commute to attend an upcoming Philadelphia Orchestra, PCMS, or Opera Philadelphia performance? It’s good to see this kind of aggressive marketing to potential new concertgoers. But have you noticed that the signs tend to advertise a […]
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Conrad Tao Takes Philadelphia

Posted By Peter Burwasser on Oct 7th, 2015
“We’re lucky to have him while we can still afford him,” said Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia executive director (and MFS vice president) Janelle McCoy. She was referring to pianist/composer Conrad Tao, who had just finished the first public performance of his new concerto for piano and electronics, An Adjustment. The deeply personal work grew from […]
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